Shriners Hospitals for Children asks families to practice fire safety during the holidays

According to an independent survey commissioned by Shriners Hospitals for Children ® , many do not follow key fire and burn safety tips during the holiday season, which can be the most dangerous time of
year. That’s why David Greenhalgh, M.D., and the burn team at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California are asking families to be burn aware to ensure happy, healthy holidays.

“There is no greater gift than the gift of safety,” says Dr. David Greenhalgh, Chief of Burns at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California. “Our experience treating burn patients has shown us that most families are aware of the risk of burn injuries and the importance of prevention. But those safety and prevention habits are not always automatic. Unfortunately, we often see more burn injuries over the Christmas and New
Year holiday season,” he added.

The national survey, conducted as part of the Shriners Hospitals for Children annual Be Burn Aware campaign, polled adults across the nation on their fire safety knowledge and practices. Although overall awareness was high, the survey revealed several gaps in action. The largest gap was associated with live Christmas trees, one of the most dangerous fire hazards in homes during this time of year. More than half of those surveyed said they do not water trees daily, even though nearly three-quarters of respondents were aware of the life-saving practice.*

Candle and cooking accidents account for a large portion of house fires and injuries, but the study revealed Americans are not taking simple steps to keep their homes safe. One-quarter of Americans surveyed said they leave lit candles unattended, and slightly more leave them in reach of children. The survey also found that two of the simplest prevention tips are often not followed in the kitchen – turning pot handles to the back of the stove and keeping a cookie sheet nearby to extinguish a fire.

The survey results also show:

  • 70 percent are aware that live Christmas trees should be watered daily, but only 45 percent actually do.
  • 25 percent leave lit candles unattended in their homes.
  • 27 percent leave lit candles within the reach of children.
  • 47 percent do not keep a lid or cookie sheet nearby when cooking to extinguish a fire.
  • 25 percent do not turn pot handles to the back of the stove and out of children’s reach.

To make sure the holiday season gets off to a safe start, Shriners Hospitals for Children asks families to follow these six steps to help ensure a safe Christmas and happy New Year:

  • Water Christmas trees daily. If decorating a real tree, purchase a fresh one with needles intact. Make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk before placing it in a stand with water.
  • Locate trees away from fireplaces, candles, heaters and other heat sources.
  • Check holiday lights and replace strings that are kinked or frayed.
  • Place candles in safe spots — out of the reach of children and away from decorate greens, paper and other flammable objects. Never leave lighted candles unattended. Screen the fireplace to prevent sparks from landing on carpet and children from getting too close to the flames. Never burn wrapping paper in the fireplace.
  • Practice safety in the kitchen. Whether baking holiday treats or cooking a holiday meal, safety is paramount. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a national leader in pediatric burn care, with burn hospitals in Sacramento, Cincinnati, Boston and Galveston, Texas. The Northern California Shriners Hospital is the region’s most noted,most active pediatric burn center. From massive life-threatening burns to the smallest fingertip burn, the internationally noted team of burn surgeons and specialists give children the care and rehabilitation they need to lead active, productive lives. All care is provided regardless of the families’ ability to pay. The Northern California Shriners Hospital burn team works in concert to promote health and safety through prevention research and education. Topics of prevention studies include halogen lamps, fire imagery in toy advertising, microwavable soups, campfire safety, scald burns, residential sprinklers and more. The Northern California hospital also conducts a burn prevention program for school children called Safety Begins at Home.

*  Study by Shriners Hospitals for Children, August 2016.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is devoted to transforming the lives of children through excellence in treatment, teaching and research. Located at 2425 Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California provides care to children with orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns, cleft lip, scars from any cause and other complex surgical needs. There are no barriers to care as admission is based on age and diagnosis. Care is provided regardless of the family’s ability to pay. For further information call (916) 453-2000.

Media Contact: Catherine Curran | Public Relations (916) 453-2218 | ccurran@shrinenet.org

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